Age-Friendly Rural Areas. The Challenges of Measurement and Evaluation in Czech Older Adults

Community and Space in Social Exclusion in Later Life


This article presents a study on the application of the age‑friendly measurement index
in the context of rural areas in the Czech Republic. Small cities and rural settlements comprise the great
majority of municipalities and face considerable ageing of their populations. The age‑friendliness concept
expresses how and to what extent communities offer a supportive environment that enables residents to grow
older actively within their families, neighbourhoods, and civil society together with extensive opportunities
for participation in the community. Amenities related to public spaces and transportation are key aspects
supporting these goals. The proposed measure uses the survey method to describe the perceptions of these
aspects by older inhabitants in settlements of various degrees of rurality. The more rural areas, as expected,
show fewer positive evaluations of outdoors amenities and transportation; however, this does not influence
outcome variables, such as reported happiness, subjective health or overall satisfaction. Discussion
of the content of the age‑friendly concept in rural contexts is provided.

Klíčová slova:
rural areas, age‑friendliness, active ageing, measurement, methods, Czech Republic

Age-friendly Cities Poll Report. 2009. Retrieved September 10, 2015 (

Beard, John, Shanon Blaney, Magda Cerda, Victoria Frye, Gina Lovasi, Danielle Ompad, Andrew RUNDLE, and David Vlahov. 2009. “Neighbourhood Characteristics and Disability in Older Adults.” The Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 64(2): 252–257.

Bernard, Josef and Martin Šimon. 2017. “Vnitřní periferie v Česku: Multidimenzionalita sociálního vyloučení ve venkovských oblastech.” Sociologický časopis/Czech Sociological Review 53(1): 3–28.

Bowling, Anne and Mai Stafford. 2007. “How Do Objective and Subjective Assessments of Neighbourhood Influence Social and Physical Functioning in Older Age? Findings from a British Survey of Ageing.” Social Science & Medicine 64(12): 2533–2549.

Bramston, Paul, Grace Pretty, and Heather Chipuer. 2002. “Unravelling Subjective Quality of Life: An Investigation of Individual and Community Determinants.” Social Indicators Research 59(3): 261–274.

Brasher, Kathleen. 2018. “Development of an Age-friendly Audit Tool for Rural Communities in Australia.” Paper presented at the IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing, August 8–10, 2018, in Toronto, Canada.

Buffel, Tine. 2018. “Social Research and Co-production with Older People: Developing Age-friendly Communities.” Journal of Aging Studies 44: 52–60.

Buffel, Tine, Sophie Handler, and Chris Phillipson. 2018. Age-friendly Cities and Communities: A Global Perspective. Policy Press.

Buffel, Tine and Chris Phillipson. 2018. “A Manifesto for the Age-friendly Movement: Developing a New Urban Agenda.” Journal of Aging and Social Policy.

Buffel, Tine, Chris Phillipson, and Thomas Scharf. 2012. “Ageing in Urban Environments: Developing ‘Age-friendly’ Cities.” Critical Social Policy 32(4): 597–617.

Burholt, Vanessa 2012. “The Dimensionality of ‘Place Attachment’ for Older People in Rural Areas of South West England and Wales.” Environment and Planning A 44(12): 2901–2921.

Burton, Elizabeth, Lynne Mitchell, and Chris Stride. 2011. “Good Places for Ageing in Place: Development of Objective Built Environment Measures for Investigating Links with Older People’s Wellbeing.” BMC Public Health 11: 839.

CZSO Demografická ročenka ČR 2017 (data k 31.12.2016). (The Statistical yearbook of the Czech Republic 2017, as of 31.12.2016). 2017. Retrieved August 21, 2018 (

CZSO Počet obyvatel v obcích - k 1.1.2018. 2018. (The number of inhabitants in municipalities as of 1.1.2018). Retrieved August 21, 2018 (

Feldman, Penny and Mia Oberlink. 2003. “The AdvantAge Initiative: Developing Community Indicators to Promote the Older People.” Family & Community Health 26(4): 268–274.

Fitzgerald, Kelly and Francis Caro. 2014. “An Overview of Age-friendly Cities and Communities Around the World.” Journal of Aging & Social Policy 26: 1–18.

Gerritsen, J.C., E.W. Wolffensperger, and W.J.A. van den Heuvel, 1990. “Rural-urban Differences in the Utilization of Care by the Elderly.” Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology 5(2): 131–147.

Gieryn, Thomas 2000. “A Space for Place in Sociology.” Annual Review of Sociology 26(1): 463–469.

Gobbens, Robert and Marcel van Assen. 2018. “Associations of Environmental Factors with Quality of Life in Older Adults.” The Gerontologist 58(1): 101–110.

Golant, Stephen. 2014. “Age-Friendly Communities: Are We Expecting Too Much?” IRPP Insight, February, 5.

IFA (International Federation on Aging). 2015. Age - Friendly Cities and Communities –“Creating Enabling Environments” (The Conference Plenary Panel Abstract). Retrieved September 10, 2015 (

Kano, Megumi, Paul Rosenberg, and Sean Dalton. 2018. “A Global Pilot Study of Age-Friendly City Indicators.” Social Indicators Research 138(3): 1205–1227.

Keating, Norah, Jacquie Eales, and Judith Phillips. 2013. “Age-Friendly Rural Communities: Conceptualizing ‘Best-Fit’.” Canadian Journal on Aging 32(4): 319–332.

Kendig, Hal. 2003. “Directions in Environmental Gerontology: A Multidisciplinary Field.” The Gerontologist 43(5): 611–615.

Klimešová, Blanka. 2018. “Komunitní plánování veřejného prostoru se seniory.” Pražské matky/Život 90. Retrieved October 13, 2018 (

Kulcsár, László and David BROWN. 2017. “Population Ageing in Eastern Europe: Toward a Coupled Micro-Macro Framework.” Regional Statistics 7(1): 115–134.

Levasseur, Mélanie, Mélissa Généreux, Jean-Francois Bruneau, Alain Vanasse, Éric Chabot, Claude Beaulac, and Marie-Michéle Bédard. 2015. “Importance of Proximity to Resources, Social Support, Transportation and Neighbourhood Security for Mobility and Social Participation in Older Adults: Results from a Scoping Study.” BMC Public Health 15(1): 503.

Lindenberg, Jolanta and Rudi Westendorp. 2015. “Overcoming Old in Age-Friendliness.” Journal of Social Work Practice 29(1): 85–98.

Lui, Chi-Wai, Jo-Anne Everingham, Jeni Warburton, Michael Cuthill, and Hellen Bartlett. 2009. “What Makes a Community Age-friendly: A Review of International Literature.” Australasian Journal on Ageing 28(3): 116–121.

Majerová, Věra. et al. 2005. “Český venkov 2004: Život mladých a starých lidí [The Czech Countryside: The Lives of Young People and Older Adults].” Prague: Česká zemědělská univerzita v Praze, Provozně ekonomická fakulta.

Menec, Verena and Scott Nowicki. 2014. “Examining the Relationship between Communities’ ‘Age-friendliness’ and Life Satisfaction and Self-perceived Health in Rural Manitoba, Canada.” Rural and Remote Health 14: 2594.

Menec, Verena, Nancy Newall, and Scott Nowicki. 2014. “Assessing Communities’ Age-Friendliness: How Congruent Are Subjective Versus Objective Assessments?” Journal of Applied Gerontology: The Official Journal of the Southern Gerontological Society.

Menec, Verena, Louise Hutton, and Nancy Newall. 2015. “How ‘Age-friendly’ are Rural Communities and What Community Characteristics are Related to Age-friendliness? The Case of Rural Manitoba, Canada.” Ageing and Society 35(1): 203–223.

Moulaert, Thibauld and Susanne Garon, eds. 2016. Age-Friendly Cities and Communities in International Comparison: Political Lessons, Scientific Avenues and Democratic Issues. Springer.

Perlín, Radim (No Date). “Venkov, typologie venkovského prostoru.” Czech Ministry of the Interior. Accessed February 1, 2018 (

Perlín, Radim, Silvie Kučerová, and Zdeněk Kučera. 2010. “Typologie venkovského prostoru Česka.” Geografie-Sborník ČGS 115(2): 161–187.

Petr, Ondřej. 2015. Regional Differentiation of Demographic Development of Rural Areas of the Czech Republic. ESF MU: Brno.

Petrová Kafková, Marcela, Lucie Vidovićová, and Petr Wija. 2018. “Older Adults and Civic Engagement in Rural Areas of the Czech Republic.” European Countryside 10(2): 247–262.

Plüschke-Altof, Bianca. 2016. “Rural as Periphery Per Se? Unravelling the Discursive Node.” Sociální studia 2: 11–28.

Pospěch, Pavel. et al. 2014. Vynalézání venkova v ČR po roce 1989. Brno: CDK.

Pospěch, Pavel, Miloslav Delín, and Daniela Spěšná. 2009. “Quality of Life in Czech Rural Areas.” Agriculture Economics 55(6): 284–295.

Spina, John and Verena Menec. 2013. “What Community Characteristics Help or Hinder Rural Communities in Becoming Age-Friendly? Perspectives from a Canadian Prairie Province.” Journal of Applied Gerontology.

Steels, Stephanie. 2015. “Key Characteristics of Age-friendly Cities and Communities: A Review.” Cities 47: 45–52.

Stonawská, Kateřina and Antonín Vaishar. 2018. “Differentiation and Typology of the Moravian Countryside.” European Countryside 10(1): 127–140.

UNECE Policy Brief on Ageing No. 18 “Older Persons in Rural and Remote Areas.” 2017. Retrieved August 21, 2018 ( ).

Vaishar, Antonín, Lucie Vidovićová, and Elisabete Figueiredo. 2018. “Quality of Rural Life.” European Countryside 10(2): 180–190.

Vidovićová, Lucie, Lucie Galčanová, Marcela Petrová Kafková, and Dana Sýkorová. 2013. Stáří ve městě, město v životě senior [Ageing in the City, City in the Lives of Older Adults]. Prague: Sociologické nakladatelství.

VIDOVIĆOVÁ, Lucie. 2017. “How Age-Friendly are Cities? Measuring Age-Friendliness with a Composite Index.” Pp. 277-297 in Emerging Trends in the Development and Application of Composite Indicator, edited by V. Jeremic, Z. Radojicic, and M. Dobrota. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Wahl, Hans-Werner and Gerald Weisman. 2003. “Environmental Gerontology at the Beginning of the New Millennium: Reflections on its Historical, Empirical, and Theoretical Development.” The Gerontologist 43(5): 616–627.

Walsh, Kieran. 2017. “Constructions of Old-age Exclusion: In Place and Shaped by Place.” Pp. 252–266 in Geographical Gerontology: Perspectives, Concepts, Approaches, edited by M.W. Skinner, G.J. Andrews, and M.P. Cutchin. Routledge.

Warth, Lisa. 2016. “The WHO Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities: Origins, Developments and Challenges.” Pp 37–46 in Age-Friendly Cities and Communities in International Comparison. Political Lessons, Scientific Avenues and Democratic Issues, edited by T. Moulaert and S. Garon. Springer.

Webber, Sandra, Michelle Porter, and Verena Menec. 2010. “Mobility in Older Adults: A Comprehensive Framework.” The Gerontologist 50(4): 443–450.

WHO. 2002. “Active Ageing: A Policy Framework.” Retrieved August 21, 2018 ( 2007. Global Age-friendly Cities: A Guide. Retrieved September 10, 2015 (

WHO. 2015. “Measuring the Age-friendliness of Cities: A Guide to Using Core Indicators.” (

Wight, Richard, Michelle Ko, and Carol Aneshensel. 2011. “Urban Neighbourhoods and Depressive Symptoms in Late Middle Age.” Research on Aging 33(1): 28–50.

Wiles, Janine, Annette Leibing, Nancy Guberman, Jeanne Reeve, and Ruth Allen. 2012. “The Meaning of ‘Aging in Place’ to Older People.” The Gerontologist 52(3): 357–366.

Wong, Moses, Pui HING Chau, Francis Cheung, David Phillips, and Jean Woo. 2015. “Comparing the Age-Friendliness of Different Neighbourhoods Using District Surveys: An Example from Hong Kong.” PloS One 10(7).

Zaidi, Asghar and David Stanton. 2015. “Active Ageing Index 2014: Analytical Report.” UNECE/ European Commission. Retrieved October 13, 2018 (





PDF (English) views


Mobi (English) views


EPUB (English) views